Emeritus Professor Peter Spearritt, from the University of Queensland's School of Historical & Philosophical Inquiry, recently authored an opinion piece for the Courier-Mail in which he criticised the extent of urbanisation taking over the strip from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast, and developer-driven planning decisions in Brisbane. Professor Spearritt has kindly provided the text of his commentary, reproduced in the attachment below.
'In 2003 I argued, in a series of articles for the Courier-Mail, that southeast Queensland was well on the way to becoming a 200-kilometre city, where the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast would simply merge into each other. Unchecked development followed the dominant road systems. Only 17 per cent of this vast urban area could be classified as green space, compared with 43 per cent of an equivalent area in Sydney, where huge National Parks prevented it joining Newcastle and Wollongong.
'Regrettably, the 200-kilometre city has happened. No new national parks have been created, to give any sense of separation between these three cities, now one giant metropolis. Billions of dollars are spent on widening the M1 to the south and the Bruce Highway to the north. Placating traffic never works as a strategy for promoting sensible urban growth. Even Los Angeles has turned to public transport, creating a new light rail link from Santa Monica to the downtown.'